All dogs need a bit of lovin’
This blog has been written for those of you who are brand new to the dog world and veterans of the game looking to add to the pack! Whether you don’t know what you’re in for, or you need a gentle reminder on what having a puppy is like, this is blog for you!
Before I start the tips, I would like to point out that although the thought of adding a joyous, little ball of fluff to your family dynamics at home is great, it should also come with some major consideration. In 2019 alone, RSPCA centres took in 10,564 dogs across the UK, some more facts and figures can be found at https://www.rspca.org.uk/whatwedo/latest/facts. This is a terrifying number, and I highly recommend you go check out if you can rescue a dog before you take the leap with a new puppy!
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So you’ve decided on the breed, found a reliable breeder and you’ve seen pictures of the big puppy dog eyes that you know you won’t be able to say no to for a considerable amount of time! The mere thought of a fluffy bundle of joy lay across your lap, dreaming of chasing squirrels should give you that tingly feeling of excitement!
If you’ve owned a puppy before, you should be reminiscent of times when your precious buddy was as small as a button sleeping on anything and falling off just as much! However, as your puppy transitions into a moody teenager, it is easier to skim over the things we didn’t like so much, and redirect our memories to them darn puppy eyes again and again… and again! These tips should hopefully serve as a friendly reminder as to what to expect once you finally get your new best friend home!
Every Little Helps
Tip 1. Get a crate and a gated area
This may seem very trivial for experienced dog owners, but for those of you who are new to this, a crate and a gated area will be one of the purchases you are most gateful for (sorry, I had to)!
The size of the area is dependent on the size of your pup. Set it up around the open crate, which will act as a rest area, with blankets and a bed set up inside. Designate a potty area as far from the crate as possible, so your dog can differentiate between the two (not even dogs like to sleep where they pee)!
Try to make this as comfortable as possible for your dog with lots of puppy friendly chew toys. A new home, new smells and a new family is daunting, doing all you can to help them settle right in is important! For food and water, I suggest trying work-to-eat toys, like a stuffed kong (www.fetch.co.uk/kong), and a spill proof bowl to keep them well fed and hydrated!
Tip 2. Supervise, supervise, supervise…
Puppies love to sleep, and they do a lot of it! However, when they’re awake 8 week old puppies are just like new born babies… apart from they wee and poop wherever they’re standing! My tip here is to try and not use puppy pads all around the house, this will give them the idea they can go wherever they want, and it’s a habit you’ll want them to kick as soon as they can!
You’ll start getting used to the signs your puppy displays when they’re about to go to the toilet, when you do, read them and get them outside as quickly as possible!
Puppies will go walking and sniffing out their new environment. Let them get used to their surroundings by doing this, but make sure they aren’t chewing on the wrong things (wires were a fun thing to chew for our Fred) and give them all the attention they need!
If you aren’t able to keep your eye on them 24/7, which is possible (even the best of us burn out chasing them around the house), then revert back to the caged area. Their ‘bedroom’. It gives you the much deserved rest you need, and gives them the chance to wander to their hearts content!
Tip 3. Socialise. Don’t traumatise.
Everyone dreams of the friendly dog that loves all people and doesn’t stop giving cuddles. To get to this point you need to take it slowly with your pup, don’t rush them into new experiences and never let them get too overwhelmed.
Introduce a couple of new people every so often, and do the same with new places and dogs outside of your household too. A fun trick we tried is taking your puppy to the vets and introducing them to the team, making the whole experience real fun with lots of treats. Now whenever we need to take Fred to the vets he has no problem jumping out of the car when we get there!
Tip 4. Reward the good, don’t punish the bad
Positive reinforcement for your dog is best practiced early on. The more they get to realise that good behaviours mean good things, the more often they’ll act, well, good.
The ability to communicate clearly with your puppy will help you with training as they grow through adolescence and into an adult dog. The way it works is that you decide the behaviour you want your dog to learn by offering treats, and when they do the action you desire, you reward them. Rewarding your puppy for doing things correctly, leads to the likelihood of that action being repeated.
Don’t teach them things you will regret later down the line. It might seem cute your little 3kg pup jumping on you now, but when they’re 20kg its not so fun!
Tip 5. Don’t be afraid to do the dirty work!
As previously discussed, puppies go to the toilet a lot! This means you’ll be seeing it a lot too! Don’t always just pick it up as quick as possible and bin it. Sometimes it pays to take a second and just have a look for anything out of the ordinary.
Check poop for blood and/or diarrhoea, as this can be a sign your pup may have something wrong with them! If its out of the ordinary, don’t panic. The best thing to do is to call the vets to ask their advice! If your vets is closed, and there is no emergency number, there are plenty of online consultations you can get just as quickly!
Another sign of a poorly puppy can be a change in energy levels and personality. Like you would with any member of your family, if they start acting differently make sure to be extra precautious!
Tip 6. If ya gotta go, ya gotta go!
Stock up big on kitchen paper and anti bac wipes! These are lifesavers if you have a hard surfaced floor. If you have carpet, this tip is extra essential!
As a rule of thumb, the number of hours that a puppy can “hold it” is their age in months plus 1. So a 2 month old pup is probably going to be able to hold it for around 3 hours (does not apply to when puppy gets excited)! If you’re ever in doubt though, get used to bringing them outside and waiting until they go potty, then referring back to Tip 4, treat them for this good behaviour!
Tip 7. Don’t worry if its not happening yet
Dogs are so smart, and they grow up so quickly. This might make you feel like your puppy should be picking up things quicker than they are!
If they won’t sit, heel or stay, then don’t worry! There is plenty of time for all the formalities when they’re older. Stick to socialising and having fun and you’ll soon get the best out of your dog!
Tip 8. Time flies, make sure to have fun!
A new dog is one of the most joyous experiences you can have, so as simple as this one sounds, make sure you do it!
Puppyhood flies by quickly, and they’ll soon be a grumpy teenager before you know it! So take lots and lots of pictures, enjoy the little things and remember, with lots of love they’ll soon be that new member of the family that completely adores you!
I hope these couple of handy tips help you in either finding your feet with a brand new puppy, or act as the reminder you needed coming back into dog ownership! There is so much information to sift through out there now, but for our information we swear by ‘Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution’ channel on YouTube. He has multiple videos on what to do from the first 36 hours with your new pup, what to teach first and to teaching them to ring a bell for the toilet. Here at Pawsome Walking we’re always to help too, so if you have any queries then give us a shout and we’ll try our best to help you out!